Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Red Light Treadmills

Today, on my run, I was stuck at a fairly busy intersection for close to 5 minutes. Normally, when I have to stop and wait to cross the street I check on my kids in the stroller, tuck in blankets, redistribute snacks, wipe noses, remind Leona again to keep her feet on her side... you get the idea. This morning, however, I only had Jonny with me and he was asleep... nothing to do there. I like to have something that I "have to do" at intersections because otherwise I don't know what to do. Should I jog in place, pretending like there is some sort of treadmill hooked up to the back of the stroller? I see lots of people doing that and (with enough forethought to realize I'm going to offend someone... sorry) I have to admit I usually laugh secretly to myself, unless I'm in my car, then I might actually laugh out loud. I'm sorry, but running in place on a street corner just looks goofy. I'm sure there are excellent reasons to do it, but I'm too prideful to give it a try. I don't want people (mean people like me) secretly laughing at me.

That being said, I feel super self-conscious when waiting to cross the street... like everyone is staring at me and I don't know what to do. Today, I checked on Jonny (twice, even though I could clearly see through the window he was sleeping), stretched my calves a bit (small, simple stretches that wouldn't draw much attention), had some water, checked the time, checked my pace, considered sending my mom a text (it was a really looooong light), avoided eye contact with all the drivers waiting for their lights, stretched some more and still felt like I was standing there naked (which considering it is August and I could have comfortably been naked I was surprisingly well dressed). Anyway, this all brings me to the reason of this post, which is to find out what I should be doing at stop lights... or should I just avoid them all together?

What do you do when faced with a "don't walk" sign? Do, you run in place (promise I won't make fun of you), check your watch, do jumping jacks/sit ups/push ups, chat up the pedestrians or do you merely stare at the ground hoping nobody will recognize you? Maybe you're cooler than all of that and you don't bother stopping but merely consider red lights a chance to work on your speed as you dodge through traffic pretending the angry sounding horns and shouts are merely your fans cheering you on. Or, if you're really lucky the only running you do is through beautiful rolling countrysides and pristine sandy beaches.

WhenI was looking for a cross walk picture, I came across this one, which made me laugh, so I thought I'd share.


amocurrare said...

i stand there looking right and left, trying to find a hole in traffic large/long enough to cross the street and almost always do. This way I can avoid drivers, make it look like I'm really intent on continuing this super important run, and yes, by the way, this is a JOGGING STROLLER that I am pushing. (sort of novel in my area.) I feel foolish jogging, awkward stretching, and odd if I just stand, sweating profusely! So i dart across the street as soon as I can!

track coach and adorable wife said...

If I am by myself, I try to cross the street as soon as I can, taking the cross walk signal as more of a suggestion than actual law, but if I have the kids and it is a true intersection, I usually wait it out while oddly shaking and jiggling my legs as I pretend I am talking to the kids! Pretty sure I look stupid!

P said...

There's too much traffic in my town to cross against a light, so I usually walk around a little while I'm waiting for the signal. I don't jog in place (as if!), but I don't stand still either. Love that pedestrian signal pic! :-)

Dick said...

As you know most of my runs don't have crosswalks or signals. On those that do, I generally try to weave my way through the traffic. If it's a not a really busy street I sometimes turn the corner and go along the street until I can cross through the traffic to the other side and continue my run. If it's busy I stop and pretend I'm actually a runner who deserves some rest. I NEVER jog in place. The people who do that are usually the ones dressed in designer workout suits, wearing giant fanny packs, that wouldn't know what a fartlek was if it bit them in the ass.

momof3 said...

lol! the image, so funny!